Nighttime Wetting: Everything You Need to Know

Nighttime Wetting: Everything You Need to Know

Potty training your kids is probably one of the better accomplishments as a parent, but what if your child has nighttime wetting? Throughout the years we have had many instances where the kids have gone through spurts of nighttime wetting. Since the kids mostly sleep in our bed I can 100% let you know that waking up while a kid is peeing on you is not fun. Even less fun is sleeping through the night in a wet spot because we didn’t wake up.

One thing we never did was overreact when it happened though because we didn’t want to traumatize the kids. We knew that the kids would eventually grow out of this stage and we did our best to make sure they were comfortable and dry. Hubby and I can strip and remake the bed in under 2 minutes without even fully waking up at this point. We are seasoned professionals 😉

Interview With Family Therapist Michele Kambolis About Nighttime Wetting

I got the chance to interview family therapist Michele Kambolis about nighttime wetting and she was kind enough to not only delve into the medical stuff but offer tips on how to deal with it in your home.

nighttime wetting

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a child and family therapist, a doctoral researcher in mind-body medicine and a mother myself.  I’m also the author of Generation Stressed, which focuses on the many ways parents can empower children in the face of stress.  My mission is to inspire parents to trust themselves and their expansive capacity to cultivate a life of well-being for their child.

Is there anything that causes bedwetting? How do you know if your child is wetting the bed and not potty training?

Nighttime wetting or Nocturnal Enuresis is characterized by the involuntary loss of urine while sleeping after the age at which bladder control usually occurs.  It’s quite common, affecting more than 15% of 4 to 12-year old’s, is more common in boys and goes away in time. Nighttime wetting is highly genetic, in fact, there’s a 77% chance that a child will wet the bed if both parents did as a child.  Bedwetting is primarily driven by development delays in bladder function, so children generally outgrow the condition. Most importantly, in most cases, it’s a completely normal and common part of growing up and never your or your child’s fault.

There are some fundamental differences between potty training and nighttime wetting.  First, when your child is daytime dry and no longer wearing diapers during the day, they are fully potty trained – congratulations!  Second, if your child is daytime dry but wet during the night, they are still potty trained and are now experiencing nighttime wetting.  Parents often confuse the early stages of nighttime wetting as delayed potty training, but this is absolutely not the case as the two stages are very different.

Do you have any tips on what we should do if a child wets the bed?

Since the core reason for bedwetting for most children is developmental, keeping your child dry and comfortable with sleep supporting tools like absorbent Bedtime Pants, will often be enough. 

I also recommend having your child hydrate throughout the day, and quench thirst in the evening to avoid a full bladder in the night.  Regular bathroom visits can minimize holding urine, and encouraging a full void establishes healthy bladder habits.

Once these healthy habits are established, you can focus on keeping your child dry and comfortable overnight.  For many children, waking up dry can boost confidence while easing stress (especially during sleepovers).  I highly recommend using the kinds of tools high designed to make a difference in your child’s comfort and quality of sleep; GoodNites® Bedtime Pants are a perfect way to transition your potty trained child.  Kids love that they look and feel like regular underwear with graphics that are awesome for kids.  The absorbent zones are perfect for targeted nighttime capacity intake so your child feels comfortable and dry all night long.  Keep in mind, they can also help smaller children between 28 – 45 lbs, with their new XS size. This is the perfect product to help children between 3 – 4 years old, who are daytime dry and have not yet achieved nighttime dryness.

Any advice on how to talk to children that are going through this?

Help your child understand that nighttime wetting is not their fault, bodies develop at different rates and it’s something that will pass. Some children can be daytime dry for a considerable time before they are nighttime dry – this is perfectly normal.  This is a chance to listen openly to whatever your child is feeling, validate that you understand and reassure them deeply.

Also empower your child by involving them in the discussion as you develop ways to cope with nighttime wetting.  Allowing them to pick out their own GoodNites® Bedtime Pants and dispose them in the morning can leave children feeling like “a big kid” as they master independence.

Do you have any tips on what we should do if a child wets the bed?

Have a “non-reaction reaction”.  Children can become discouraged when wet bed sheets follow daytime dryness. They may feel stressed, disappointment, or embarrassed. React with reassurance, and allow your child to lean into you emotionally. Reinforce your support with encouragement by letting them know it’s not their fault and that you’re happy to help them get cleaned up. 

At the same time, maintain that same neutrality when your child has a dry night.  If your child is praised for dry nights it may inadvertently send the message that nighttime dryness is voluntary and something they are in control of.  Instead, simply make a “noticing” statement, like “I notice your sheets are dry, that means your bladder is developing”.

Any advice for the parents that are dealing with this?

Keep in mind that nighttime wetting is a natural part of growing up and doesn’t mean you’re failing as a parent.  It’s neither something you can train out of your child, nor rush along.  While it’s natural to want to see your child moving on from this stage, it’s an opportunity to support, reassure and deepen your attachment with your child.  Life isn’t a straight line; any turn along your child’s way is a chance to build connection and resilience, and that includes nighttime wetting.

nighttime wetting

GoodNites Bedtime Pants

If you have a young child that is currently dry during the day and needs some extra help during the night GoodNites Bedtime Pants are now available in an XS size to fit better for children 28-45 lbs. Made with 5-layers of protection they not only keep you child dry but lock in odours as well, making for happier mornings and better-rested families. Perfectly designed to make your child feel like they are wearing regular underwear with absorbent zones that are targeted to prevent leaks. There is currently a coupon on the GoodNites website for $2 off, grab it here.



This is a sponsored post in collaboration with GoodNites. All opinions are our own.
Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. kathy downey
    May 24, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Bed wetting can be such a challenge sometimes,thanks for the ideas ad tips!

  2. AD
    May 24, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    Great article. Non-reaction, reaction is the best thing ever… The child is already embarrassed, and having an intellectual discussion explaining the physiology of the bedwetting is so helpful!

  3. Lynda Cook
    May 24, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    My youngest was a bed wetter up to the age 10, thank goodness for Goodnights, but before them I had a fair share of wet sheets and ruined mattress, It was frustrating but I would not show my frustration in front of my daughter because that just made it worse, but boy was I happy when she finally stopped the night wetting!!

  4. May 24, 2017 / 11:20 pm

    We also have the GoodNites protective pads on our mattresses as a precaution. Let me tell you how happy I was with these a few weeks ago when we all got the flu

  5. May 24, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    I really like the intelectual convo aspect. There is no need to sugar coat something you have no control over

  6. May 25, 2017 / 12:20 am

    You’re welcome. I love sharing all the info I get with you 🙂

  7. kristen visser
    May 25, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    my daughter actually uses GoodNites 🙂 She is 4.5 and autistic so every morning she has a wet diaper/pad. My youngest daughter who is 2.5 and had a dry diaper for about a week now. I have even tried to cut of liquids an hour before bed and she pees before bed but still wakes up with a wet one

  8. Elizabeth Matthiesen
    May 25, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    A very interesting read, the knowledge here will no doubt help many a parent who’s perhaps feeling stress because of bed wetting.

  9. Treen Goodwin
    May 26, 2017 / 10:00 am

    great info , thanks for sharing , so many struggle with this … i will pass this info on to my Son for his lil guy 🙂

  10. Anita Harris
    May 27, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Very informative as we delve into this next phase with our 3 year old son.

  11. Laurie P
    May 28, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    very informative! Bed wetting wasn’t an issue for us here, but it’s always great to read information that could be helpful to others!

  12. heidi c.
    May 30, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    With my four, I waited until they each had several dry nights before trying underwear. I also put protective padding on the mattress.

  13. Calvin F
    May 31, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Very informative post, really thank you for spreading awareness.

  14. Corry L.
    June 22, 2017 / 5:08 pm

    Great article. My oldest suffered with bedwetting, (before the times of products like GoodNights) but thankfully my youngest has not had issues.

  15. Kristy
    August 2, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Some really good information. It’s really important that kids understand that it’s not their fault and that it’s a part of growing up. My oldest isn’t a bed wetter. We are currently potty training my twins and I’m hoping they won’t suffer with bedwetting.

  16. kathy downey
    August 9, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    A helpful post,it’s important for the child to know we understand!

  17. Janet M
    August 13, 2017 / 6:14 pm

    This is an excellent article. There are so many misleading articles out there about this topic. Thank you.